iiNet R&D lab to schmooze chip makers

iiNet's chief executive officer, Michael Malone today officially launched the internet service provider's (ISPs) new, in-house product research and development (R&D) lab in an effort to capitalise on the success of products like BoB.

iiNet's managing director Michael Malone today officially launched a new in-house research and development (R&D) lab in an effort to replicate the success of products like BoB.


iiNet CEO Michael Malone announced a new in-house R&D lab today.(iiNet Labs image by Luke Hopewell/ZDNet Australia. Original Laborador image by IDS photos, CC BY-SA 2.0)

The lab will be a "dedicated business group" focusing on customer premise equipment, according to iiNet CTO Greg Bader. The unit would comprise of around five to ten people, but would also draw on knowledge from the rest of the company's engineers. It will be primarily based in the headquarters in Perth, but would also have members on the eastern seaboard, with some engineers "literally [working] out of a suitcase", according to Bader.

The creation of the group won't mean any new hires, according to Bader, who said that the company had already found new recruits.

The new team will spend a lot of time with manufacturers, he said, as opposed to relying so heavily on relationships with partners such as Belkin, which was behind the successful BoB product. "Going forward, we would intend to have more direct relationships with people who design chips and circuit boards," Bader said.

Malone said that the in-house lab will give the ISP more control over development of products and enable it to quickly respond to customer demand.

"iiNet Labs will focus on producing good looking, value for money products that both respond to consumer needs while setting technology trends," the company said in a statement today.

Malone described the lab as an exciting new phase for the business.

"The sky is the limit," he said.

Malone announced the new R&D initiative at the company's annual general meeting today, where he discussed the company's results with shareholders. The company is aiming for a big 2011 following the acquisition of AAPT's consumer arm and with full integration with Netspace nearing completion.